The Complete Guide for Buying a Home

Evaluate your reasons for wanting to purchase a home.

The Complete Guide for Buying a Home

Getting started

Is it for tax break reasons, wanting to take advantage of low interest rates, tired of renting and not building equity, would like to benefit from home market appreciation, have a goal to own a home free and clear someday or do you just want to invest your money in real estate?

Whatever your reasons are, home ownership is part of the American dream. There are many benefits and some risks. Working with a good lender and real estate agent that have your best interest in mind, will help you to make the right educated decision.


How to get pre-approved for a mortgage

Serious home buyers will need to complete the process of getting pre-approved. This is different than getting pre-qualified. Home sellers will require this before accepting an offer. Shop around for a good lender and make an application for pre-approval.


First time home buyer guide

  1. Is my job and income stable?
  2. Is your credit score good or bruised?
  3. Do I have the amount of money saved for a down payment, closing costs and potential home repairs?

Ideally you answered yes to all 3 of these questions and are ready to explore home ownership.

What mortgage programs are best suited for you? Repeat buyers usually go with conventional or jumbo mortgages. First-time buyers many times select FHA, VA or USDA loan programs.


How much do I need for a down payment?

Options can be as low as zero down for VA loans, 3.5 percent down for FHA loans and between 3 percent to 20 percent down payments for Conventional programs. Repeat buyers may want to use their previous home’s equity to invest into their new home purchase. Many first-time buyers take advantage of lower down payment options to get homeownership under their belt.


Home search and making an offer

Research the housing market and decide on key “must-haves”

“Must haves” vary depending on your wants and needs. If you’re a first time home buyer you will gain a better sense of what features you would like as you look at various homes.

Finding a good real estate buyer’s agent will go a long way in helping you decide on what you really need in a home or what you can live without.


The fun part, closing on your home!

You’re ready to sign papers and go to “settlement” or closing

The home closing date is finally set! This will not happen until all conditions of your approval have been satisfied and cleared by your lender’s underwriter. It is a group effort to get to this stage. Realtors, loan officers, sellers and of course you, are involved in getting to this final step.

Your biggest questions are most likely how much cash do I need to bring to the closing (certified checks payable to yourself are required)? When will I gain occupancy and get the keys?